We are sure there isn’t a person on this planet to whom the characteristic hiccup sound isn’t funny. It is even funnier when that sound comes from your dog.
The question is: What causes dog hiccups, and is it a normal occurrence?
As always, today, we will be diving into the most common reasons for dog hiccups and show you what you can do to help your dog stop making funny noises.
Let’s find out together!
What Are Dog Hiccups & What Causes Them?
Due to anatomy similarities, hiccups occur in dogs as well as in humans.
Dog hiccups (just as with us humans) are an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle that regulates the breathing process and is located between the abdominal muscles and the chest.
In most cases, hiccups are a completely normal occurrence, especially when it comes to puppies.
How Do Hiccups Work?
Let’s go over a simple explanation of how they work before we look at how dogs get hiccups.
It all starts with the muscles that control the work of the diaphragm.
Irritation of these muscles causes an involuntary contraction of your diaphragm. Then there is a spasm of the abdominal muscles, which is most often accompanied by sudden inhalations and exhalations.
The sudden closure of the larynx (which holds the vocal cords) leads to the creation of a characteristic sound we all know so well.
Okay, But How Do Dogs Get Hiccups?
It may sound strange, but the clearly defined cause of hiccups is unknown!
However, while we don’t know the exact cause, we know for sure which situations could produce hiccups.
Here are the three most common factors which could lead to your four-legged friend experiencing dog hiccups:
#1 – Food Which Is Too Hot or Too Cold
When your dog eats food that is quite hot or, on the contrary, cold, the temperature of their esophagus changes.
The esophagus is like a tube that connects the throat to the diaphragm.
Ingesting food in this way irritates the muscles that regulate the work of the diaphragm, which increases the chances of hiccups.
#2 – Drinking Water or Eating Too Fast
Hiccups often occur in puppies, especially in situations when thirst needs to be quenched, or hunger satisfied.
When meeting basic needs, puppies take in a larger amount of air together with food. However, this uneven air intake creates a burden on the stomach which leads to hiccups.
#3 – Emotional Reactions
Yes, you read that right! Such phenomena usually take place during your dog’s sudden reactions to stimuli around them.
For example, when a dog is too excited or suddenly scared, there is a greater need for air. The sudden need for a large amount of air suppresses muscle control, which causes hiccups.
Should You Be Worried?
Hiccups most often occur in puppies in the situations listed above. They last about 10 minutes, after which they go away on their own.
Usually, hiccups are suppressed by aging, so that they become quite a rarity in adult dogs. This doesn’t mean that they can’t or don’t happen. It is just not common to see them often happen to entirely healthy, adult dogs.
If you are a dog parent of an older dog and their hiccups last unusually long, it can be an alert. In such cases, a visit to the vet becomes a must.
Let’s see what could be the causes of chronic dog hiccups.
Potential Causes of Chronic Hiccups
Although you can expect your dog to get hiccups at least once in their life, some causes can lead to chronic hiccups.
We are talking about dog hiccups which could last for over an hour. Then, you have to agree that the situation becomes worrying.
Regardless of what you suspect to be the reason, take a mandatory trip to the vet as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
The following causes most often cause prolonged hiccups:
#1 – Respiratory Problem
The appearance of hiccups in dogs older than seven months most often reveals a respiratory problem. The most common is irritation of the diaphragm.
#2 – Gastrointestinal Problem
Hiccups can also occur during gastrointestinal accidents. In addition to vomiting or diarrhea, hiccups may be present. In most cases, it is spoiled food, but sometimes, it can indicate the presence of parasites.
#3 – Presence of Parasites
Prolonged hiccups can also be the result of the presence of worms in your dog’s body. This can cause nausea accompanied by vomiting or bloody stools. Then your dog’s respiratory tract is targeted, triggering an alarm signal – a seemingly harmless hiccup.
How Can You Help Your Dog?
First, try to understand the possible causes of your dog’s hiccups.
Tip #1 – Consider the diet you provide for your dog.
Is your dog overeating? Reduce the portions if needed. Large meals are difficult for your dog’s stomach. This can often cause bloating and hiccups.
Also, check which ingredients you use as supplements. Is there any suspicious ingredient that may not be the best choice for your dog?
Make the necessary adjustments and move onto the next step.
Tip #2 – Pay attention to the food temperature.
If you are a person who prepares food for your dog, focus on the preparation method.
Primarily, take into account the temperature at which you serve food to your dog. As we said before, too cold or too hot food will not please your dog’s stomach.
Tip #3 – Regulate your dog’s water intake.
Just as large amounts of food can be harmful, the same holds true for water.
Choose a suitable water dispenser. It often contains a dozer, which will prevent your dog from greedily swallowing water that could be harmful.
If you do regular physical activities with your dog, give water carefully. Make sure not to allow them to drink the water too fast since they may be thirsty from walking and running.
Tip #4 – Avoid the “human” method of treating hiccups.
There is a “solution” that we often use when we have hiccups.
You guessed it right – it is to suddenly scare the person to suppress their hiccups.
We do not recommend that you scare your dog for obvious reasons. You can do additional harm, and we are more than sure that your dog will not like it.
Tip #5 – Give your dog a gentle massage.
If you still notice the dog hiccups even though everything about their diet and water intake is in check, try to bring your dog into a down position.
Talk to your friend in a calm tone, which can help with relaxation. Then massage their belly for a minute or two with gentle movements.
Although not guaranteed to be effective, this method can reduce or stop hiccups.
Tip #6 – Take your dog to the vet.
If everything else fails or you suspect that your dog may be having more complex issues, don’t hold off going to the vet. Advice from a professional is always a good thing.
Although they may seem worrying, dog hiccups aren’t a big deal.
Moreover, they are cute.
Especially if it is a characteristic sound lasting only a short time. With that being said, longer-lasting hiccups could be a big deal, so make sure to check them out with your veterinarian.
We hope we have provided enough information to help you prevent and better understand the nature of your dog’s hiccups.
Don’t hesitate to let us know about your experiences below in the comments!